Better [is] little with the fear of the Lord than great
treasure and trouble therewith.
] Not that a "little" is better than "much" of that which is good, as the things of this world are in themselves; poverty is not better than riches, simply considered; but as these are attended with different circumstances: if a man has but little of worldly substance, yet if he has "the fear of God" in his heart, and before his eyes; that fear which has God for its author and for its object, and which is itself a treasure; and may be here put for all grace, for the riches of grace saints are partakers of; such a man's little is better than another man's abundance without the fear of the Lord, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it: for such a man, though he has but little, which is the common portion of good men, yet he does not lack; be has enough, and is content; what he has he has with a blessing, and he enjoys it, and God in it, and has communion with him; and has also other bread to eat, the world knows nothing of: and particularly having the fear of God, the eve of God is upon him with pleasure; his heart is towards him, and sympathizes with him in all his troubles; his hand communicates unto him both temporal and spiritual meat, which is given to them that fear the Lord; his angels encamp about him, his power protects him; his secrets are with him, and inconceivable and inexpressible goodness is laid up for him: wherefore he is better off with his little, having the fear of God, than another with his great abundance and affluence, being destitute of it: and besides, having a great deal of "trouble" along with his treasure; trouble in amassing and getting it together; trouble in keeping it from being lost, or taken away by thieves and, robbers, for fear of which he cannot sleep; trouble through an insatiable desire of having more; he has no rest nor peace because he has not so much as he would have, or others have. Besides, he has what he has with curse; God sends upon him cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all he sets his hand to, ( Deuteronomy 28:2 ) ; where the same word is used as here: and he has it also with the cry of the poor; so some render the word, "a noise" or "tumult" F7; and interpret it of the cries and tears of those that are oppressed and injured; so Jarchi and Gersom; or, "with terror" F8, as some render it; with the terrors of a guilty conscience, with the fear of hell and everlasting damnation. Better have a little with a good conscience, than ever so much attended with such circumstances; it is not any man's little, but the good man's little, that is preferable to the wicked man's much; see ( Psalms 37:16 ) .
F7 (hmwhm) "tumultus", Tigurine version, Montanus, Vatablus; "strepitus", Mercerus.
F8 "Terror", Aben Ezra.